I have always been told that giving is good. Why? Because we offer help to those who need help. But seeing my mother volunteer with Genesis Foundation (GF), a not for profit and my association with GF got me thinking – isn’t real help helping someone with what he or she needs? And on thinking further, I realised that it’s a simple concept – the help should satisfy the person being helped and not the helper alone.
One day, mom came back from a conference where corporate giving was being discussed and in an exasperated manner she told me how people were talking about giving technology support to an underprivileged community. Children were dying, she told me, because of the lack of funds for treatment of critical illnesses and nutrition; they didn’t even have the basics.
Her statement that giving should be in context of ground reality reinforces the fact that giving becomes meaningful and has a lasting impact when you give something that the receiver wants. This makes perfect sense and this is how giving will impact change for good! Imagine giving a child who needs funds for education a toy!
I am from a family where the idea of charity is almost a religious belief. My grandmother is a religious person. And with the belief in God comes the belief of ‘service’.
My grandmother particularly, apart from being religious, is a very benevolent person and her kind-heartedness has been quite infectious. Hence, I learnt to give. I gave away clothes and shoes I had grown out of, I gave away toys and books I didn’t need; sometimes I gave food too and at times even mindlessly gave milk and things in places of worship. All of this made me happy because I could proudly say – I did charity! But did it really help those I helped? Did it delight, change or make a sustained impact? Honestly, I don’t know.
Then one day, I turned to the other side. I seldom saw my mother give away all that she didn’t need. What she gave was ‘time’ and things in context of what the receiver needed. My mother’s way of giving is different – give what the person receiving needs. She helps by giving her time to volunteer, spread awareness, garner larger community participation, raise funds and donate for a cause too. It is not linked to a religious day as she does this each day of her life, along with the other things at home and work. Her intent of giving is very clear – focus on the need of the receiver so that your act of giving is meaningful. Furthermore, giving cannot be sporadic. It is a commitment and should be sustained and impactful.
There is no right way or wrong way to do charity. But whatever way one chooses, it has to be impactful and sustained giving. The idea of helping someone with something can be driven by anything – religion, habit, culture, fear, compulsion – anything. But before you make up your mind to give, do remember.
What do they need?
Will my action make any impact to their lives?
Does their happiness give me happiness?
Can this action be a part of my life?
I believe if every individual is taught to share even 1% of what they are privileged to have in their lives, then ‘giving’ can slowly become a way of life. Let not charity just be a ‘good to do’ deed or forced through religious beliefs; let charity become an evolved gesture of understanding and giving what a person really needs, to impact change. And what you’ll see is that you will get back more than what you give… that’s a promise!
Mum says this all the time – giving is magical because by giving, both the giver and receiver get.
Give. Millennials are changing the rules and redefining many things. It’s time we also reinvent the meaning of success to intrinsically include making a difference while pursuing professional goals. This simple change will not only help us be better professionals, but will help us be better people and to create a better world. At the end of the day, isn’t this what humanity is all about?
Everyone CAN do something. Give and Be of SERVICE.
(Namit Makhija is a 17-year-old student. This is a personal blog and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)
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